"You're going down, air-bug," the Autobot hissed with vehemence, lunging at the Seeker.
The winged mech dodged and rose into the air.
"You couldn't catch a moonbeam with a river," the Seeker taunted.
The Autobot gathered himself and sprang, managing to latch onto the Seeker's wing.
Wildly off-balance, they spiralled downward, landing in a tangle on a quiet cenotaph wall.
An elderly mech looked on mildly as they disentangled themselves, shoving each other and giggling.
He watched the laughing young mechs, their shining optics showing nothing but happy mischief.
And no wonder; Cybertron was entering the fourth millennium of it's third Golden Age, and few Transformers remained who knew hardship or the bitterness of war.
The youngsters noticed the quiet old gent.
"Sorry, were we disturbing you?" the young blue-optic'd Seeker asked politely, elbowing his equally young Autobot companion.
"No man," he smiled, reminding himself again that the connotations 'Autobot' and 'Decepticon' hadn't been used for several generations, "But you might want to go easy on this, it's starting to show it's age, just like me," he chuckled, slowly settling on the cenotaph steps and laying a hand on the memorial.
"Oh no.We didn't damage it did we?" the red and white flyer asked anxiously, looking the wall over.
The old mech looked at him with a slight grin, and noticed the young aut- the blue and silver youngster roll his optics.
"This memorial is tough, just like those it remembers, but it doesn't impress you, does it Junior?" he asked amiably.
The blue mech folded his arms.
"I don't believe in war."
"Not many do," the older mech said softly, almost to himself, "But sometimes there's no choice."
The flyer wrapped up his examination and sat one step down from him.
"Oh man, what I wouldn't have given for a sound system like that," the older mech grinned, momentarily distracted as a sleek black hoverer cruised past, resonant woofers reverberating in two dimensions.
"You can get fitted with those," Junior shrugged, "Any tech'll do it,"
"Hehe, I doubt my old specs would measure up."
The aged mech chuckled.
"My friends used to say I was loud enough as it was."
The flyer smiled at that, and the blue mech sat next to his friend in front of the older mech.
"They don't say that now?" Junior asked with a laugh.
The aged mech smiled slightly and gazed into the distance.
"Most of the friends who used to say that aren't around any more," he said softly, "But a lot of their talents were pretty useful too..."
He trailed off as they eyed him curiously.
He shook himself off and looked at them both.
"What about you youngbloods? Are you young 'uns still being created with a gift or talent?"
"Well...my creators say I have an above-average logic center," the flyer said hesitantly, wondering if that's what the elder mech had meant.
"That's a great thing to have man, make sure you use it,"
He looked at the blue mech.
"What about you, Junior?"
"I have this...what do the oldies call it? Oh yeah. Ability. It's been handed down our line for aeons, Primus knows why," the young blue shrugged.
"And what is your abilty, Junior?" the old mech asked steadily.
The blue and silver mech stood up, and then vanished into thin air.
"Now I ask you, what is the point of that?" he shrugged, reappearing.
The older mech chuckled slowly.
"It's a great gift, treasure it."
The youngster looked at him curiously, but didn't say anything.
"My ancestors had some interesting abilities too," the flyer spoke up, "But they weren't handed down to me. You're lucky."
The blue mech eyed him for an astrotick, then turned back to the memorial.
"Those are the humans who helped those old Autobots on Earth, aren't they?" he squinted at the section of the memorial that honoured the generations of Chase and Witwicky.
"Is that why we have humans working here on Cybertron?" Junior asked.
"You got it man. Earth and Cybertron have worked together since the end of the Great War. There are hundreds of Humans here, and likewise with Transformers -or Cybertronians, as we say these days- on Earth."
"I can't wait til our Academy excursion to Earth," the flyer said, excitement shining in the bright blue optics.
The old mech grinned.
"It's a great place," he said simply, "You'll love it."
"There's heaps of junk about Earth in our Academy texts, but I can't believe it's as good as it sounds," the blue mech said doubtfully.
The older mech laughed.
"Man, have you ever walked on grass?"
"Seen a sunrise?"
"Not a real one."
"Swum in saltwater?"
Both youngsters looked at him oddly.
"Salty water?" the flyer asked.
The older mech was tickled by the looks on their faces.
"Man, when you get to Earth, find a beach, ok?" he grinned cryptically.
"Uh, sure," the red and white flyer said uncertainly.
"It's a wonder the humans allowed us back to their planet. Our texts say that old war caused a lot of damage, all over Earth," the blue and silver mech commented.
"True man," the older mech said quietly, "But the Autobots tried hard to repair whatever damage was caused, and Optimus Prime was adamant about helping humans whenever they could,"
"Who?" the blue mech said.
"Optimus Prime. He was the greatest leader in the history of Cybertron," the flyer pointed out, with a note of awe in his tone.
"Yes, he was," the elder said firmly.
He hid a sigh and glanced at the memorial.
"Today's the anniversary of the Day of Awakening. It's importance seems to be fading through the generations, but it was a pivotal point in the Great War," he said quietly.
He studied the blank youngsters.
"That was the day the Autobots and Decepticons were re-awakened on Earth, after four million years...and they continued the fight," he explained.
"That's what I don't get," Junior said, "If no one fought in wars, there wouldn't be any, right? So why did they keep fighting?"
The older mech studied him for a handful of astroticks.
"Because they had to," he said simply.
The blue mech had been eyeing him curiously, and now spoke up.
"Can I ask you something?"
He shrugged. "Ask away, Junior."
"Why the antique visor? Any medic worth their crosses has the technology to enhance your vision, so why do you put up with it?" he asked, genuinely curious.
The old mech smiled.
"When I was your age, this was the most sophisticated technology available. I see just fine with it, and over time the visor became a part of me."
"But why were you created with faulty optics? It seems kind of cruel to me," the flyer spoke up hesitantly.
"You know, I never asked," he grinned.
He glanced up as the sector's main timepiece chimed.
"Man, is that the time? I better get moving, I can just hear the whining if I'm late."
The two young ones gave him a questioning look.
"I'm an honorary member on the Board of Council Elders...and it's really damn boring," he added in a conspiratorial tone, grinning.
The youngsters laughed as he carefully stood up.
They watched him glance briefly at each of the antique holo-images with a cheeky, lopsided grin that made the years slip from him.
He leaned forward to brush his finger tips over the image of the young, serious-looking, door-panelled mech.
"I still miss all of you, as illogical as that sounds man," he whispered through his grin, pulling something from a subspace pocket and straightening with difficulty.
The two youngsters caught sight of the archaic red insignia as he laid it against the memorial, one they'd only seen in museums, and on computer screens, in dry, pedantic history texts.
"You're one of the Great War Autobots," the flyer whispered reverently, feeling a sudden inexplicable, and tangible, link to the past.
The young blue and silver mech looked at him with new respect.
He looked at the awed mechs and chuckled.
"I was just doing what I had to. Same as my friends here," he gestured to the images.
"Same as these guys," he added, pointing at the Decepticon section of the memorial.
The young ones gazed at each other for several astroticks; without this mech, without those on the memorial, and countless others, they wouldn't be sitting here, certainly not as friends, certainly not privileged to be living in Cybertron's third Golden Age.
The flyer turned to the older mech; he was smiling at some distant, private memory, as he gazed at the memorial.
"Thank you," he said softly, hoping the old soldier would understand.
"Don't mention it man," he said cheekily, stepping down with a creak or two.
They watched him slowly, achingly, transform into an ancient Earth-style ground vehicle.
It was clear his years were far more advanced than his sharp mind let on.
He headed off at his leisure, weary, old-fashioned speakers still managing to blast out an obsolete tune that obviously had some significance to him.
Maybe it was the same tune that used to cause the elderly mech's friends to clamp their hands over their audios, and tell him how loud he was.
"I thought they were all gone," the red and white flyer whispered, "It's been so long since the Great War."
He looked at the row of holo-images, wondering what each Autobot's story was, the friendships behind the images, regretful they hadn't lived to grow old like the mech who so clearly remembered them.
He glanced at his friend.
"I might try tracing my lineage one day, to see if any of our line fought in that Great War," the blue and silver mech said thoughtfully.
"So you should. It was our ancestors in that war, and we should never forget what they did,"
They stood to go their separate ways, and were halted.
They raised their left and right wrist, loosely shackled together by an antique magnabond strip.
"Do you know who that was?" the flyer whispered, awe-struck by the realization, "He was Cybertron's greatest ever saboteur."